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Breast-a-Ville combines fun and education

Maria Glotfelter
Features Editor

Cancer affects the lives of countless people. You would be hard-pressed to find a single person who did not have a family member, friend, or at least an acquaintance who was affected by cancer. One of the greatest combatants against cancer is education. On October 5th, during MU’s own Wellness Fair, Breast-a-Ville hosted its 6th annual educational event.

The event took place from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. outside the Student Memorial Center. Being held on a college campus, Breast-a-Ville is definitely catered towards educating college students on how to protect both themselves and their loved ones from cancer as much as possible. But Breast-a-Ville is not purely educational: The participants and volunteers used a combination of fun attractions and giveaways to attract students to the event. The following are just a few examples of the fun and educational stations that were at Breast-a-Ville: a photo dress-up station, a singing station, and a bra ping-pong game station. The “fun” in Breast-a-Ville did not detract in any way from the cancer-education aspect of Breast-a-Ville, but rather enhanced the learning experience.

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One educational table at Breast-a-Ville discussed the hazardous relationship of cell phones and cancer (Photo courtesy of Maria Glotfelter).

Volunteers from the community, Lancaster General Hospital, Relay for Life, and student-led groups, as well as others all worked together to make this event happen. Organizations set up their stations oustide the SMC. Each organization had its own table, and at each table there were different aspects of cancer for the students to learn about. For a “learning check,” each table-runner had a set of questions they asked the students to answer. After spending adequate time learning at a table, students would get a stamp from the table-runner. If enough stamps were obtained, students were awarded a free t-shirt, which served as an incentive for them to go around to as many tables as possible.

Educational stations varied from “how-to” instructions on self-examination to facts about cancer to information on organizations that help support those with cancer. Grace Cancer Care was one of the cancer-support organizations represented at Breast-a-Ville. Grace Cancer Care provides non-medical services such as making meals for cancer patients. Julie Ehrgood, the representative at the table, stated: “There’s support out there for you.” The volunteers at Breast-a-Ville were heartfelt and sincere, and their main, collective goal is to educate and to help.

One of the fun educational stations at Breast-a-Ville was a singing station, where students could sing a song accompanied by a professional musician.
One of the fun educational stations at Breast-a-Ville was a singing station, where students could sing a song accompanied by a professional musician (Photo courtesy of Johnny Roberts).

Susan Davis, an RN volunteering at Breast-a-Ville, gave the following suggestion: “Know your body, feel your boobs.” Davis is a breast cancer survivor herself, and she really pushes for young people to know their bodies. Self-checking was highlighted and pushed at Breast-a-Ville overall. After all, if you know your body well, you will know when something is off. Several stations were dedicated to showing how people can properly check themselves. The sooner an abnormality is caught, the better.

Besides the invaluable volunteers, there is one person who really makes the Breast-a-Ville event possible: Dr. Dennis Denenberg. The founder and sponsor for Breast-a-Ville and Diana’s Dreamers: Determined to Defeat Breast Cancer, Dr. Denenberg was inspired to start Breast-a-Ville because of Diana Denenberg Durand’s, his sister, 18-year long battle with breast cancer. Mrs. Durand was a 1967 graduate of Millersville University and even served as the Snapper’s Editor-in-Chief during her senior year. Dr. Denenberg’s goal and the goal of Diana’s Dreamers is reflected in Breast-a-Ville: He wants to educate college students on cancer. There is no major national organization that focuses on cancer education for specifically college students. It is Dr. Denenberg’s and all the volunteers at Breast-a-Ville wish that Breast-aVille will expand to many colleges and universities. Before starting the event, Dr. Denenberg planned for about a year. Ever since its inception, Breast-a-Ville has gained momentum, and many of the same students attend year after year.

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Each organization had its own table, often accompanied by visually stimulating and informational poster boards (Photo courtesy of Maria Glotfelter).

Dr. Denenberg stated some obstacles in running Breast-a-Ville. He discussed the challenge of coming up with new themes each year to keep the event interesting. One of the past themes was “Know Your Family History,” and this year’s theme was “Fabulous.”

Jenny Monn, the chair of the Breast-a-Ville event confirmed the event was definitely growing. A college campus is a “safe, fun, and interactive environment” according to Professor Monn. “We want to influence the development of lifestyle behaviors,” Professor Monn stated. Breast-a-Ville has been getting coverage from local news stations such as WGAL and Fox News. Hopefully, the event will continue to grow enough to even inspire other universities to start Breast-a-Villes of their own.

Breast-a-Ville was definitely a huge success at Millersville this year. Over the years, the event has only become more well-known, and more and more students are attending. If you didn’t get a chance to go this year, make sure you keep your eye out for next year’s event. However, students everywhere can put the sentiment behind Breast-a-Ville into practice today: Know your body and educate yourself about cancer.